E.A. Sports Today

Bulldogs win opener

Anniston opens its Calhoun County Tournament experience in a crazy way, then goes on to rout Faith Christian; Tuesday’s games off

Anniston’s Savion Bethune (10) fights for position against Faith’s Jacob Cleckler. On the cover, Anniston’s Dontavious Davis goes in for two of his team-high 18 points. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Monday’s Games
Anniston 90, Faith Christian 40
Saks 53, Jacksonville Christian 35
Piedmont 49, Ohatchee 42
Wednesday’s Games
Anniston vs. Jacksonville, 5:30 p.m.
Weaver vs. Sacred Heart, 8:30 p.m.
Thursday’s Games
Saks vs. Alexandria, 4 p.m.
Piedmont vs. Oxford, 7 p.m.

With winter weather expected to descend into the area overnight, tournament officials have decided to cancel Tuesday’s schedule and push all of those games into Wednesday, a scheduled off day for the tournament.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — Savion Bethune and his Anniston basketball teammates could laugh about it now, but at the time it was one of the weirdest starts to a Calhoun County Basketball Tournament game. Certainly an Anniston game.

Bethune, the Bulldogs’ savvy quarterback and basketball guard, opened Anniston’s 90-40 rout of Faith Christian in a most embarrassing way.

He secured the opening tip, then raced all the way to goal behind him and hit the first basket of the game – for Faith.

“I didn’t know which way we were going,” Bethune said. “He threw me off a little bit when he went up to get it, so I thought we were going that way. That has never happened to me before.

“I heard people yelling as I was going up with it, but it was too late, so I just went ahead and shot it.”

They even marked it in the Anniston side of the official scoreboard, then had to erase it. He didn’t have another field goal in the game, but a lot of other Bulldogs did — five players scored in double figures and the Bulldogs scored 37 points in the second quarter.

His teammates gave him some good-natured ribbing about it in the dressing room, as you’d expect. At least he made the basket. Imagine the embarrassment of going the wrong way and then missing the shot.

“I wish they had scored more for us,” Faith coach Justin Kisor said.

Anniston coach Torry Brown couldn’t remember ever having a game start that way Monday’s did for one of his teams either. The only thing close was when he coached underclassmen teams at Hoover and one particular coach would dupe everyone into racing to the defensive goal and having one of his players all alone for an easy opening layup.

“That’s a first, one of those you get once in a lifetime, I guess,” Brown said.

The wrong-way basket was credited to Faith’s Malcolm Carlisle – not that he needed the help. Carlisle, who went for 36 in the Lions’ tournament opening win over Pleasant Valley, scored his team’s first 10 points and 22 in the game. The Bulldogs fronted him better as the game went on and he had only two in the second half, though, and didn’t play in the fourth quarter.

The win sends Anniston to play fourth-seeded Jacksonville Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

The win was Anniston’s fourth in a row. The only difference between the way they started the season and the winning streak, Brown said, was the ball has started going into the basket more.

“It’s that simple,” he said. “Everything looks better the ball goes in.”

Saks: No Beason, no problem

Saks’ Darien Briskey goes hard to the basket as he does his part to pick up the scoring slack left by an injured teammate. Briskey scored 21 points in the Wildcats’ victory. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Saks coach Jonathan Miller admitted he was a little worried when his team went into its Calhoun County Tournament opener without its leading scorer. Somebody on the roster had to step up now, and fortunately for the Wildcats they did.

Darien Briskey scored 21 points and Dee Bell had 15 – all on 3-pointers – as the sixth-seeded Wildcats dispatched No. 14 Jacksonville Christian 53-35.

“We needed some guys to step up and take a little bit more of the scoring load than they’re expected to,” Miller said. “Darien Briskey and Laderrick, they have to score every night for us to be successful, but they had to kick it into another gear tonight without DeVaunghn (Beason).”

Beason dislocated his right thumb in the second quarter of Friday night’s area loss at Handley and was seated on the bench in street clothes. It was believed he could have played against the Thunder if necessary, but he is expected to play Thursday when the Wildcats play third-seeded Alexandria in a neighborhood scrap at 4 p.m.

Bell got the Wildcats going with three 3-pointers in the first quarter. Briskey got going in the second quarter with 10.

“My teammates they picked up, I’ll give them that,” Briskey said. “I knew as far scoring I was going to have to fill the gap that DeVaunghn normally fills in for us.

“I was confident. You know they talk about that Kobe (Bryant) mentality; I had to have that Beason mentality. If that shot was open, I had to take it.”

Saks led 32-21 at halftime, then held the Thunder to three points in the third quarter, which went to the defense Miller was hoping they’d play to offset the offense it didn’t have.

Kobe Messer led JCA with 15.

Piedmont’s Myers takes charge

Piedmont’s Delo Foster (11) and Ohatchee’s Aaron Moore (33) waged a nice battle of big men. Foster blocked nine shots and Moore grabbed 16 rebounds. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Piedmont coach Tommy Lewis was looking for someone in a tight game to say ‘I want the ball,’ and Carl Myers was more than happy to oblige.

Myers stepped up in a big way late in the game and lifted the Bulldogs over a game Ohatchee team, 49-42. The Bulldogs will now play No. 2 seed Oxford on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Myers scored 20 points. He had 15 in the last 10 minutes, 13 in the fourth quarter, including going 8 for 11 from the free throw line.

“He got hot and shot his shot,” Lewis said. “But even more, a lot of the that fourth quarter he was the guy going to get the ball and saying ‘I want to shoot that free throw,’ and that’s what we’ve been missing, a guy who’ll say I want to shoot that shot.

“He’s a good player, but he started off slow with that leg (injury from football) … but he’s finally getting that confidence back and shooting his shot. His shot is really looking a lot better.”

The game was tied at 25 late in the third quarter when Myers took over. He answered Evan Keller’s game-tying 3-pointer with one of his own to put the Bulldogs up for good and followed it with an inside bucket. It was part of seven straight points to the horn that gave Piedmont a 32-25 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Then he scored Piedmont’s first 11 points of the quarter. The personal string ended when he gave up an easy layup on the 2-of-1 to assist on Delo Foster’s lay-in that made it 45-37.

“At the beginning of the game I wasn’t hitting anything, but coach kept telling me to shoot,” Myers said. “I wanted to really be in that spot because after I hit a couple shots I just felt like I was feeling it and they kept taking me to the free throw line and I kept hitting.”

The teams were really similar in makeup and that’s what led to such a tight game. Both had good guards who could shoot and a big man in the middle.

Speaking of the big men, there was a war under the basket. Piedmont’s Foster had two points, but he blocked nine shots. Ohatchee’s Aaron Moore had four points, but he grabbed 16 rebounds.


Anniston 90, Faith Christian 40
Malcolm Carlisle 7 7-8 22, Mike McGraw 0 0-2 0, Jacqus Prater 1 0-0 3, Seth Cravens 1 1-2 3, Jacob Cleckler 1 4-7 6, Dalton Rogers 1 0-0 2, Beau Conley 1 0-0 2, Briley Thomas 0 0-0 0, Chase Gibbons 0 2-2 2, Banks Colton 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 14 40.

ANNISTON (8-10) – Savion Bethune 0 4-4 4, James Haynes 3 0-0 9, Jimme Felton 4 0-3 8, Kwame Milton 5 0-0 11, William Fairley 4 2-2 13, Dantavious Davis 8 2-6 18, Hunter Rouse 1 2-2 5, LaDrak Hall 6 0-0 12, Theron Montgomery 5 0-1 10. Totals 36 10-18 90.

Faith Christian 14 14 7 5 — 40
Anniston 21 37 18 14 — 90

3-point goals: Faith 2 (Carlisle, Prater); Anniston 8 (Haynes 3, Milton, Fairley 3, Rouse).
Total fouls: Faith 11, Anniston 17. Officials: Kendal, Pryor, Hughes.

Saks 53, Jacksonville Christian 35
JCA (6-10) –
Elijah McCormack 0 0-0 0, Walker Messer 4 2-4 11, Eli Fair 1 0-0 2, Nash Messer 0 1-3 1, Chase Vinson 2 2-5 6, Chase Cobb 0 0-0 0, Kobe Messer 6 0-0 15, Jonathan Carter 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 5-12 35.

SAKS (9-6) – Darien Briskey 10 1-2 21, Laderrick Bell 5 0-2 15, Brent Clark 1 0-0 3, C.J. Lauderdale 1 0-0 3, Zay Elston 0 1-2 1, Dareon Dukes 2 4-6 8, Marreo Thomas 0 0-0 0, Jaylen Young 0 0-0 0, Tyler Smith 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 6-12 53.

JCA 10 11 3 11 — 35
Saks 15 17 8 13 — 53

3-point goals: JCA 4 (W. Messer, K. Messer 3); Saks 7 (Bell 5, Clark, Lauderdale). Total fouls: JCA 9, Saks 15. Officials: Brown, Lial, Corley.

Piedmont 49, Ohatchee 42
PIEDMONT (15-6) –
Carl Myers 5 8-11 20, Kaedon Jenkins 1 0-0 2, Delo Foster 1 0-0 2, Ryley Kirk 4 1-2 10, Lee Stanley 3 1-3 7, Alex Odam 2 0-0 6, T.J. Fairs 0 2-2 2. Totals 16 12-18 49.

OHATCHEE (8-14) – Andrew Roberts 0 0-0 0, Blake Buckelew 4 0-0 8, Ben Glass 4 1-2 11, Carson Stone 0 0-0 0, Grayson Alward 0 0-0 0, Kevin Williamson 0 0-0 0, Bayley Tillison 0 0-0 0, Evan Keller 4 0-0 12, Domonique Thomas 3 0-3 6, Aaron Moore 2 0-0 4, Briley Hale 0 1-2 1, Jordan Lowe 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 2-7 42.

Piedmont 9 9 14 17 — 49
Ohatchee 13 9 3 17 — 42

3-point goals: Piedmont 5 (Myers 2, Kirk, Odam 2); Ohatchee 6 (Glass 2, Keller 4). Total fouls: Piedmont 12, Ohatchee 14.

To see a photo gallery from all three boys games in the Calhoun County Tournament Monday visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

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